Hunters and Collectors (Forte Magazine)
An article about the upcoming 2014 Hunters and Collectors A Day on the Green winery gigs.
Author: Zach Broadhurst; Forte Magazine.
Date: 5 December 2013.
Original URL: http://fortemag.com.au/?p=11871
It’s been 15 long years since the legendary Hunters and Collectors called it quits. They have teased us with some appearances, such as their set at Sound Relief in 2009 which had the 80,000 strong crowd singing along to some of their greatest hits, but finally Mark Seymour and the boys will be gathering for a Hunters and Collectors tour for the first time since 1998.
“I think everyone is pretty excited about it. It’s going to be a big show; very powerful. I’m looking forward to it,” says Seymour ahead of their first Day on the Green show in Geelong’s Hill Winery on the 25th of January.
Despite the band’s legendary status in Australia, Seymour reveals that there was some doubt the band could pull it off and make a comeback after so much time apart; however, their set at Sound Relief put his mind at ease. “I’ve always had a sort of vague feeling that the opportunity might present itself to tour together again,” says Seymour. “We never really planned for it, it just sort of evolved out of these one-off gigs we’ve done. I think the Sound Relief show was the catalyst really; that was such a big night and the band was so well received.
“The band more or less retired in 1998, so it had been a very long time leading up to that show. We weren’t actually sure we’d cut it as a band, so I think doing that show answered a lot of those questions.”
While Hunters and Collectors playing outdoor festivals may be a foreign sight to fans more accustom to seeing them playing packed out pubs, Seymour feels the setting isn’t as alien to the band as many might think. “By the early ’90s, which is when the band really hit its straps, they were big crowds,” explains Seymour. “When you think ‘Pub Rock’ people sort of associate that with rooms about the size of the Corner Hotel, like 800 people at the most, but we were playing in West Sydney to two-three thousand people. We reached a point where we had a concert environment more than anything else, so the band developed an approach to performing which I think translates quite well to these bigger scale shows.”
The tour will not only be a great chance for past fans to rekindle their love with the band, it will also be the very first time many fans will get to see them live. Their 1998 retirement, coupled with their tendency to play 18 and over shows at the time, means most Australians 30 and younger would have never witnessed a Hunters show. “I think that’s true for a lot of people, a lot of young kids,” says Seymour. “We often used to get approached about playing sort of underage shows and it kind of happened occasionally, but not often enough I think.”
Luckily for those unaware of how a Hunters show goes, Seymour tries his best to describe one saying, “it’s difficult to define really; the music is really simple but it’s really intense. It’s interesting because a lot of people seem to associate us with hardcore rock ‘n’ roll, but a lot of it isn’t really like that at all. The drums and bass have an intensity, and it’s quite an unusual approach … and it has big brass. It’s symphonic. It’s a big wide open sound.
“The band is going to go out and present the set that we were playing in 1998 essentially. It will be pretty much all the hits that we were known for and some of the other songs that were better known for back in the early ’80s when we hadn’t been played on the radio. It’s very rock, very rock ‘n’ roll, very powerful, brass in practically every song, and we are just hitting all the buttons, so people will get exactly what they expect.”
This Hunters and Collectors tour also coincides with the release of their tribute album Crucible, which features some amazing Australian and international talent with covers by Paul Kelly, The Living End, Birds of Tokyo and Something for Kate, as well a duet by Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn – a list of names that blows Seymour away.
“I think that’s what is really good about this album Crucible, the people who stepped up to do it really surprised me,” says Seymour. “I honestly thought it would never get off the ground, because I just thought young kids didn’t really know anything about us, but I’ve been proven wrong in spades really. It’s just a terrific tribute and to know that we did actually have that much influence on them was quite a good feeling.
“I’m really impressed with it. I wasn’t sure if they could pull it off because Hunters made so many albums over a long period of time that the sound and the style of our music changed quiet dramatically from one record to the next. The fact that young artists were able to glean our sensibilities from all that stuff was quiet extraordinary really.”
For those of you hoping this Hunter and Collectors tour marks the rebirth of the band or results in a new album of fresh Hunters material, sadly that’s not the case. Seymour emphasises this brief reformation is just a mixture of good timing and the desire to give back to the fans who have made Hunters and Collectors what they are today. “It’s a combination of the album and consolidating our audience really, just for our own piece of mind more than anything else – getting to play for people who were there back in the day.
“This will be it; this is the swan song. It’s a good way to do it to with the tribute record. I think we’ve left it long enough that I think we can do it with some degree of clarity, so this will be the only chance to see us.”
When & Where: The Hill Winery, Geelong – January 25. Hunters and Collectors will also support Bruce Springsteen at this two Melbourne shows, February 15 & 16 at AAMI Park.